THE POOR condition of more than 150 miles of Dorset roads could leave drivers, bikers and cyclists facing "devastating crashes", figures suggest.

Department for Transport figures show that seven per cent of Dorset's council-run roads – around 184 miles – were likely to have considerable deterioration in 2018-19.

They include nearly ten per cent of unclassified roads, three per cent of A roads and five per cent of B and C roads.

The same data set shows that 1.6 per cent of Bournemouth's council-run roads – around five miles – were likely to have considerable deterioration in 2018-19.

The figures include one per cent of unclassified roads, four per cent of A roads and five per cent of B and C roads.

Poole had fewer roads in this condition - just a mile-and-a-half of council-run roadways and Christchurch's figures are contained in the Dorset ones.

Councils use human inspection or scanning machines to assess the state of a road’s surface, although the exact technique can vary between local authorities. Roads that are likely to show considerable deterioration are categorised as "poor", and may need maintenance within the next 12 months.

Across England, 12 per cent of council-owned roads were classed as being in poor condition in 2018-19 – around 21,900 miles.

In April it was announced that Dorset would receive more than £14m to fix the county’s roads, as part of a £30 million handout to tackle road maintenance and pothole repairs.

Dorset was allocated £11.1m for maintenance, £2.3m as part of an incentive scheme and £757,000 for the 'pothole action fund'.

But this hasn't stopped the Brake road safety charity joining calls by other organisations for a significant boost to maintenance funding to help people stay safe and avert potentially costly repairs.

Brake says damaged roads “can contribute to potentially devastating crashes, with cyclists and motorcyclists most at risk”.

A spokesman added: “Investment in our road network is a must to help prevent the huge cost to society of a serious crash."

The Conservative Party recently vowed to spend £25 billion on England's roads, with 14 major routes earmarked for improvements.

But David Renard, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said the Government spends 43 times more per mile on maintaining national roads than council-controlled ones, which make up 97 per cent of the network.

He added: “With councils facing a £9 billion local roads repair backlog, we also need to see the Government’s investment in national roads matched by at least the same investment in local roads.”

Whilst it is hard to calculate the true cost of road traffic accidents, the RAC says that the total

value of prevention of reported road accidents in 2017 was estimated to be around £16bn.

"This sum encompasses all aspects of the valuation of casualties, including the human costs which reflect pain, grief and suffering; the direct economic costs of lost output and the medical costs associated with road accident injuries," it said. "The figure also includes an estimate of the cost of damage only accidents.

In 2011 it was estimated that each accident in which a person was injured cost an estimated £188,000 per person involved.